If the season were to end today, Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin would be many people's choice for the right-back role in the 2015-16 PFA Team of the Year.
The 20-year-old has been outstanding in one of the best defences in the Premier League so far this season.
Heading into matchday 13 this weekend, only Manchester United (8) have allowed fewer goals than Arsenal.
That defensive record isn’t solely down to one player of course, but going back to the start of last season, Arsenal’s record with and without their Spanish defender is quite different.
Arsenal have played 50 Premier League games since the start of last season, winning 70% of the 30 that Bellerin has featured in:
In the 20 that the Spaniard has been unavailable or simply not played, the Gunners have won only 20% of those:
This includes the 2-0 loss at home to West Ham United and 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.
The goals against ratio is significant too – Arsenal averaging 0.7 goals against per game when Bellerín starts and 1.2 when he doesn’t, since the start of last season.
This season alone, Arsene Wenger’s side have conceded three goals in the 180 minutes their young right-back has been unavailable – that’s one goal every 60 minutes, compared to only allowing six goals in the 900 minutes he has played – that’s one goal every 150 minutes.
It goes without saying that the clean sheet record is significantly different with and without Bellerin. Arsenal are averaging nearly one clean sheet every two games with him in the team (0.47), compared to nearly half that amount without him (0.25).
Bayern Munich with and without Bellerin - Arsenal win 2-0 at home, in which Douglas Costa isn’t as effective down the left when he is up against the 20-year-old. The Arsenal right-back even sets up Mesut Ozil for a tap-in in stoppage time.
A fortnight later and he is missing from the side, they lose 5-1. Granted, Laurent Koscielny was also missing in the defence and it was at the Allianz Arena, but zero to five is some difference.
Arsenal welcome back their star right-back for the trip to West Bromwich Albion today – the chances of them being top of the Premier League at full-time just got higher.